Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Moderate and Indie Vote

Post election analysis often reveals itself as partisan spin. However, a WSJ/NBC poll shows the shift in voting from 2008 to 2010 came from moderate Democrats and Independents...

From the WSJ Democrats Try to Crack Mystery of the Missing Voters

A popular theory of this year's midterm election holds that Democrats took a shellacking in part because big chunks of the party's core liberal base, discouraged at the path of the Obama administration, stayed home rather than show up to vote as they did in 2008.

It's an interesting narrative. It also doesn't appear to be entirely accurate.

While it's correct that some key parts of the Democratic coalition—young voters and African-Americans among them—didn't perform as they did in 2008, evidence emerging as the dust settles from this month's election suggests the bigger hole in the side of the Democratic ship came from moderates in the political center who didn't show up. (Those absences were in addition to the wave of independent swing voters also from the center who, exit polls showed, turned out but switched their votes to the Republicans.)

The case of the missing voters is important because how it is resolved will go a long way toward determining how Democrats respond to their midterm woes. If they conclude, as some argue, that the problem was an undermotivated liberal base, then the logical reaction would be a turn to the left and a staunch resistance to compromises with the Republicans who now control the House and hold expanded power in the Senate.





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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Government Weatherization Site - Very Poor

Excerpt from The Government’s Weatherization Site – Should We Laugh or Cry?

I’ve frequently griped about the way government spends money, and about some of the wasteful policies and programs it has established. However, there is one program (at least) that I believe in. Government funded home weatherization for people/families with low incomes. It makes sense on several levels. The home improvements are costly for someone living paycheck to paycheck, yet the energy savings from winterizing a home can be substantial. No one with a heart wants to see people in cold climates without heat. Also, the reduction in energy for that home is good for the individual, for the community, and even for the earth. Simply put it’s a practical useful government expenditure.

So what’s the complaint? The Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program website. First off, the name itself alludes to the problem with the site. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a person use the word ‘intergovernmental’ in a sentence before, and it is the unintelligible nature of the website that is the problem. This is the opening paragraph of the website…
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program provides grants, technical assistance, and information tools to states, local governments, community action agencies, utilities, Indian tribes, and overseas U.S. territories for their energy programs. These programs coordinate with national goals to reduce petroleum consumption and increase the energy efficiency of the U.S. economy. They aim at market transformation to reduce market barriers to the cost effective adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Well, I’m glad to hear that, “They aim at market transformation to reduce market barriers to the cost effective adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.” Seriously, they can’t say something like – we’d like more people of modest means to be able to weatherize their home?


Finish reading - The Government’s Weatherization Site – Should We Laugh or Cry?




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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bipartisan Debt Commission

Pete V. Domenici and Alice M. Rivlin the head of the 'Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force' take a serious look a debt defiit reduction. As they note, they are likely to receice criticism for parts of their plan from bith sides, just as President Obama's fiscal commission recently did. However, it is good to see ideas come forward, and the natioanal finances taken seriously. Below is an excerpt of their summary published in the Washington Post. The entire article is certainly worth a read - Payroll tax holiday and other measures to reduce the debt

To ensure a more robust recovery, we propose a one-year "payroll tax holiday" for 2011, suspending Social Security payroll taxes for employers and employees. We also would phase in the steps to reduce deficits and debt gradually beginning in 2012, so the economy will be strong enough to absorb them.

We would stabilize the debt held by the public at less than 60 percent of gross domestic product, an internationally recognized standard; reduce annual deficits to manageable levels; and balance the "primary" budget (everything other than interest payments) by 2014.

We would dramatically simplify the tax system, establishing individual tax rates of 15 and 27 percent (from the current high of 35), cutting the corporate tax rate to 27 percent (from 35 today), ending most deductions and credits while simplifying the rest, and ensuring that nearly 90 million households no longer have to file returns. To reduce the debt, we would supplement our spending cuts with a 6.5 percent "debt-reduction sales tax."

We would strengthen Social Security so it can pay benefits for the next 75 years by gradually raising the amount of wages subject to payroll taxes; slightly reducing the growth in benefits for the top 25 percent of beneficiaries; raising the minimum benefit for long-term, low-wage workers; indexing benefits to life expectancy; and changing the calculation of cost-of-living adjustments to better reflect inflation. We would not raise the age at which senior citizens can begin receiving benefits.

We would control health-care costs - the biggest driver of long-term deficits - by reforming Medicare and Medicaid while, starting in 2018, capping and then phasing out the tax exclusion for employer-provided health care. We would reform medical malpractice laws and help address the health costs tied to rising obesity by imposing a tax on high-calorie sodas.

We would freeze domestic discretionary spending for four years and defense spending for five, both at 2011 levels, and then limit their future growth to the rate of growth in the economy.

Finally, we would cap domestic and defense discretionary spending (with tight exceptions for true emergencies) and trigger across-the-board cuts if the caps are breached; enact a strict pay-as-you-go statutory rule for tax cuts or expansions of entitlements; and enact long-term budgets for major entitlements while creating a Fiscal Accountability Commission that would recommend policy changes every five years if entitlements are exceeding their budgets.



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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oil Prices Falls Back to Previous Level

Oil prices dropped today as concerns about the economy, and the strength of the recovery grow.

From Yahoo/AP Oil prices slide

Oil prices fell again as investors took profits amid renewed concerns about the global economy. A three-day decline has erased most of the gains for the month of November.

Benchmark oil for December delivery fell $2.52, or 3 percent, to $82.34 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange as traders considered Ireland's ongoing debt problems and worries about higher inflation in Asia.

Meanwhile, pump prices inched higher overnight to a national average of $2.893 a gallon for unleaded regular gasoline, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. The price is about 6 cents higher than it was a month ago and 26 cents more than a year ago.

Oil prices have fallen 6.1 percent since Thursday, when speculation arose that China would take steps to control its economic growth. On Tuesday, South Korea's central bank raised interest rates to curb growing inflation. Add in some concern about Ireland's impact on Europe's economic recovery and investors found good reason to secure some recent profits.





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Stocks Dip Early

Stocks open lower today...

From Yahoo/AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks retreated Tuesday following new worries about rising inflation in Asia and the possibility Ireland might need a bailout.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 73 points in morning trading. The losses piled up even as shares of two components of the index, Home Depot Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., rose more than 2 percent following improved earnings.

Asian markets fell overnight after South Korea's central bank raised interest rates to curb growing inflation. There has been speculation in recent days that China will have to take similar steps soon.

A report in the U.S. showed inflation at the wholesale level was smaller than predicted. The producer price index rose 0.4 percent last month, half of what economists' expected. The rise was due to a sharp increase in food and energy costs. Stripping out those volatile costs, prices fell 0.6 percent. The report backs up the Federal Reserve's view that inflation remains low because of sluggish growth.





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Monday, November 15, 2010

Burmese Democracy Advocate Released

Aung San Suu Kyi was freed this weekend after years of house arrest in Myanmar/Burma. This staunch advocate for democracy in Burma was asked by CNN about a way forward...

from Suu Kyi calls for dialogue with Myanmar government

"We have to work together," she said. "That is the main message. Those inside the country have to work together and also those supporters outside."

Suu Kyi had much the same message for her supporters Sunday, telling them in a speech, "I'm not going to be able to do it alone. You've got to do it with me. One person alone can't do anything as important as bringing change and democracy to a country."

"We would like to form a network of people working for democracy," she told CNN Monday, and said she would like to open a dialogue with "those who are in a position to do something, to change the situation in Burma for the better."

She said she has had no contact with Gen. Than Shwe, Myanmar's top military leader and head of state. Asked what she would say to him, she said, "I think what we are looking for is dialogue, so I'm not just thinking about what I have to say to him. I think what we have to think about is what we have to say to each other."





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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Foundations Establshing Online Presence

Below are a handful of quality charities worth looking into. These provide either a practical application for charitable work, or provide a different look on how charities can be viewed.Hire a Veteran
CGI
Online Charity
International Charity
US Education


Other Links: Voter Info State Sites Blue Collar

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Girls Education in Asia

The Central Asia Intitute is a remarkable organization providing education, and specifically focusing on girls education in Pakistan and Afghanistan. On their website they list the following as just a part of what they have accomplished so far...

Education Projects
Education
145 schools fully or partially supported
1200+ fully or partially supported teachers
School library projects
824 graduates from Porter Training Program
Teacher Training Workshops
64,000 students educated, including 52,000 girls

The books written by Greg Mortenson - 'Three Cups of Tea' and 'From Stones to Schools' follow the establishment and activities of the CAI. They wonderful books that will make you feel good about the generous spirit of so many people in Asia and America alike.


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Energy Should Prompt Consensus

Excerpt from Purple People Vote for Moderate and Independent Voters

The elections are over, the House is controlled by Republicans and the Democrats no longer have a super-majority in the Senate. So the question now is, ‘Can they work together?’ Only time will tell.

However, there is one issue (at least) that lends itself to bipartisan compromise – Energy. There are all sorts of good reasons to want a substantive energy policy. In fact there are so many reasons for addressing energy policy that Republicans and Democrats don’t have to be motivated by the same rationale…

The socio-political rationale: We purchase much of our oil from dangerous and volatile regions of the world that often don’t like the U.S. very much.

Environmental rationale: Energy derived from fossil fuels is not good for the environment.

Supply rationale: Some day we will run out of oil and coal.

Economic rationale: High energy costs and fluctuating energy costs negatively impact the economy in numerous ways...


Continue reading Will Congress Have the Backbone to Address Energy?


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Lindsey Graham - Voters Don't Love Republicans

Re-posted Graham: People Don't Love Republicans - It was Obama Overreach

Greta Van Sustren did a couple post election interviews that provided forthright, honest, at times very blunt assessments of the election results. One with Senator Lindsey Graham, the other with Senator Orrin Hatch. Both these Senators have worked across the aisle in the past, and have received heat from there own party for doing so.
GretaVan Sustren: What did you think about the Presidents press conference yesterday? Were you convinced that he was properly chasten because there was a message from the American people; or not? You shake your head no.

Senator Lindsey Graham: Well, I just don’t think he understands that it was his policies that got him into this mess. You know President Obama came in with a wave of hope. The American people picked this young man, they were hopeful he could change things, and the policies, health care and the process passing health care was everything different than he said it would be. The stimulus package, the financial regulation bill, the amount of debt, the growth of government – people rejected his policies. He lost his own Senate seat. Illinois voted for a Republican, a moderate Republican, how much clearer message can you get/give to the President. People of Illinois, like him personally, saying you’re going the wrong way. We want to check and balance you, and I don’t think he understands that. It was policies not personality that got him in this mess. People don’t love Republicans. It wasn’t like people in Illinois woke one day and said ‘Boy, I’ve been a Republican all these years and didn’t know it. It’s the Obama overreach."

Senator Orrin Hatch has been very critical of the health care legislation. He provides a unique perspective because he has often worked with Democrats specifically on health care legislation like s-chip. His entire interview is worth viewing, but he provide an amusingly blunt assessment of the health care bill when he said...
"I was going to say it was a piece of crap, but that would not be fair to some people who were very sincere in trying to do what is right."

Recommend checking out these two interview at the 'On the Record' home page.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cable News Over-the-Top with Chillean Miners

Excerpt from This Week In Stupid News – Breaking News or Broken News

"he Chillean Miner story was certainly the feel good story of the year. Cable news was given the gift of a watchable, interesting, and upbeat 24 hour news day. Then all three cable news networks graphics’ departments seemed to lose their mind, as they filled the television screen with graphic clutter announcing every minute element of this story. CNN posted the breaking news alert near the bottom of their pages, ‘Families await miners’ rescue.’ Really that’s breaking news? The families have been waiting for months.

Fox News ran two scrolls across their screen at once helping make their viewers cross-eyed. One scroll bringing such useful info to people such as, ‘capsule brings miners up from mine.’ I suppose if you’re somehow impaired that might be mildly helpful, as possibly someone would have thought the capsule was going to be set off like a rocket as part of Chile’s bicentennial celebration? MSNBC had the title of their show in the corner of their screen even after the show was no longer airing, and split the screen in two to show two different views. Unfortunately, they often showed the same view in those two separate panels.

Now, it must be challenging writing a myriad of informative short headlines for an event that is unfolding on live television, so here’s a tip – Stop Writing Them.
..."


Finish reading This Week In Stupid News – Breaking News or Broken News

Attack of the Headlines

Excerpt from This Week In Stupid News – Breaking News or Broken News

"he Chillean Miner story was certainly the feel good story of the year. Cable news was given the gift of a watchable, interesting, and upbeat 24 hour news day. Then all three cable news networks graphics’ departments seemed to lose their mind, as they filled the television screen with graphic clutter announcing every minute element of this story. CNN posted the breaking news alert near the bottom of their pages, ‘Families await miners’ rescue.’ Really that’s breaking news? The families have been waiting for months.

Fox News ran two scrolls across their screen at once helping make their viewers cross-eyed. One scroll bringing such useful info to people such as, ‘capsule brings miners up from mine.’ I suppose if you’re somehow impaired that might be mildly helpful, as possibly someone would have thought the capsule was going to be set off like a rocket as part of Chile’s bicentennial celebration? MSNBC had the title of their show in the corner of their screen even after the show was no longer airing, and split the screen in two to show two different views. Unfortunately, they often showed the same view in those two separate panels.

Now, it must be challenging writing a myriad of informative short headlines for an event that is unfolding on live television, so here’s a tip – Stop Writing Them.
..."


Finish reading This Week In Stupid News – Breaking News or Broken News

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reporting on Islam Not Up To Snuff

Islam: It's Perception in the Media and In the Public takes a look at how poor reporting and snap judgments are fanning the flames of an already sensitive issue. The following is an excerpt...

"Since the controversy about the potential for a mosque to be built at Ground Zero there has been a noticeable difference between the media's view of what Islam is, and the public's view of what Islam is. It is an odd situation where neither one is completely right or wrong. What Islam is, could never be summed up in a blog post, but that does seem to be precisely what is being missed in this debate. 100 people of the same faith could all practice and interpret their faith very differently. A significant cause of much of the friction and controversy is that people aren't accounting for this. However, the lack of a full and honest discussion on this topic may be causing the most trouble.

The media has not adequately done their job. They often either play down or ignores elements of Islam or the Muslim culture the Americans find rightfully disturbing. We have been attacked in the name of Islam, and certainly it isn't fair to connect all Muslims with that act, but it can't be ignored that the religion has been used numerous times as a justification for violence. Also, women are not only not treated as equals in many Muslim countries, but are often treated very poorly. Again, that doesn't apply to all Muslims, but ignoring and not reporting on these two glaring problems is not objective journalism. When news organizations do this they are clearly advocating and not reporting, and the American people are smart enough to know the difference..."

Continue Reading Islam: It's Perception in the Media and In the Public

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sandra Bullock Asked to Return Award

From Yahoo: Sandra Bullock Asked to Return Razzie Statue

The co-founder of the Razzie Awards has taken to the media to ask Sandra Bullock to return the award she won last month for Worst Actress.

"We are ready to take the unprecedented step of asking a winner to return a Razzie," John Wilson, the awards co-founder, told the UK's Telegraph newspaper.

Lest you think this gesture has anything to do with her recent personal-life strife, think again: the Razzie judges haven't changed their mind about Bullock's performance in "All About Steve" - they just want the actual trophy back.

It seems they got so caught up in the moment that instead of giving Bullock the intentionally cheap (it's worth a whopping $4.79), spray-painted replica of the award that all winners receive, the Razzies organizers say they inadvertently handed Bullock the original 30-year-old award. Given its age and rarity, the original has much more value as a collector's item.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

McCain in Claremont

Exerpt of 'An Independent Call' posted originally at Purple People Vote - Senator McCain's Town Hall

A week or so after this campaign implosion, Senator McCain had a town hall meeting at the VFW in Claremont in the western part of New Hampshire at 8:00 in the morning on a Saturday. So I got up at 6:00 and headed off to the town hall, leaving some extra time in case I got lost, which I did. Once back on the right route I should have been right about on time, except I turned too soon, drove by the back side of the building and headed right out of town. When I finally found the VFW I was incredibly late. The meeting hadn’t started yet so I signed in and went up stairs into the crowded little hall. It had a stage set up in the center of the room and an AC unit that buzzed loudly in a futile attempt to keep the room from becoming a hot box. Just a moment after I found a place to stand, Senator McCain walked by towards the stage, stopping just in front of me to my right.

I felt for him, as that could not have been a good week. Everything that could have gone wrong in a campaign did, and my instinct was to pat him on the shoulder and say ‘good luck,’ or ‘next week will be better,’ or something to that effect, but then thought it probably wasn’t appropriate to pat the candidates. Senator McCain was introduced, he took the stage and spoke for a few minutes, then took questions. The first question asked was, “How can we make this campaign about issues again?” to which everyone applauded. Senator McCain then said that by talking to people directly and continuing to do these town hall forums. The second question was, “The press and pundits have declared your campaign dead. Why should we continue to support you when no one gives you any shot at winning this race?” As the fellow asked the question a big smile started to come to the Senator’s face. Senator McCain joked that he should have given the mike to someone else, but then answered that he was still in it and that he’d keep talking to people and running his race and he’d let the voters decide in January.

A lady, who was wearing a t-shirt that said “Army Mom,” had also asked a question and she, or possibly her husband, brought up the fact that Senator McCain also has two sons serving in the military. Afterwards, in an odd scene, the media swarmed Senator McCain. This small quiet New Hampshire town had a few dozen supporters standing outside calmly waiting to see Senator McCain, a few dozen reporters within two feet of Senator McCain, and nobody else around for what seemed to be miles. Senator McCain made a bee-line for the Army Mom, making sure he chatted with her, and answered any other questions she might have had. He shook hands, took pictures, and talked with people as he headed out. Then one cameraperson exclaimed, “He has to get in his car,” and started sprinting across the street along with a reporter. The locals politely waited to shake the Senator’s hand as he left, and they were in stark contrast to the media who appeared to be on Ritalin. The rest of the town apparently was still asleep.

That was one of the first moments it dawned on me that politicians often don’t get enough credit. Most rational human beings would not choose this kind of life, where a political mistake essentially garners mindless harassment, and taking a position on an issue means receiving threats and not being able to walk to your car in peace.

This was actually one of the lessons of this entire experience. Politicians, in general terms, aren’t so bad. If you take an honest look at what is expected of them, the scrutiny and criticism they receive, even on balance with the perks of having the power, prestige, and influence that comes with an important office, I don’t think it is a job too many people would take.

Look statistically at the number of politicians who do bad things versus the total number of politicians. Their profession takes the rap for the bad actions of a relative few. Granted, these bad deeds are typically more serious due to that politician’s violation of the public trust. However, not many other professions take a hit the way professional politicians do when another politician commits an offense.

Also, consider going to work and having someone, regardless of what you do, standing over your shoulder saying, ‘I wouldn’t have done that.’ Then think of the demands of the job, the media attention and interaction, the hours away from home. Is that something you would really want to sign up for?


An Independent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Supporting McCain Through Immigration Turmoil #8

Tragedy in Poland: Plane Crash Kills President

From the AP Official: no survivors in Kaczynski plane crash
MOSCOW — The governor of a Russian region where a plane carrying Poland's president has crashed says there are no survivors.

Smolensk governor Sergei Anufriev made the statement to state news channel Rossiya-24 about an hour after the Saturday crash.

The Tu-154 plane crashed near the Smolensk airport, about 400 kilometers (275 miles) west of Moscow.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife were aboard the plane, according to the Polish foreign ministry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Stevens Retirement Announced

From Yahoo Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retiring

Stevens said Friday he will step down when the court finishes its work for the summer in late June or early July. He said he hopes his successor is confirmed "well in advance of the commencement of the court's next term."

The timing of Stevens' announcement leaves ample time for the White House to settle on a successor and for Senate Democrats, who control a 59-vote majority, to conduct confirmation hearings and a vote before the court's next term begins in October. Republicans have not ruled out an attempt to delay confirmation.

Stevens' announcement had been hinted at for months. It comes 11 days before his 90th birthday.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Viewing Candidates

A week or so after this campaign implosion, Senator McCain had a town hall meeting at the VFW in Claremont in the western part of New Hampshire at 8:00 in the morning on a Saturday. So I got up at 6:00 and headed off to the town hall, leaving some extra time in case I got lost, which I did. Once back on the right route I should have been right about on time, except I turned too soon, drove by the back side of the building and headed right out of town. When I finally found the VFW I was incredibly late. The meeting hadn’t started yet so I signed in and went up stairs into the crowded little hall. It had a stage set up in the center of the room and an AC unit that buzzed loudly in a futile attempt to keep the room from becoming a hot box. Just a moment after I found a place to stand, Senator McCain walked by towards the stage, stopping just in front of me to my right.

I felt for him, as that could not have been a good week. Everything that could have gone wrong in a campaign did, and my instinct was to pat him on the shoulder and say ‘good luck,’ or ‘next week will be better,’ or something to that effect, but then thought it probably wasn’t appropriate to pat the candidates. Senator McCain was introduced, he took the stage and spoke for a few minutes, then took questions. The first question asked was, “How can we make this campaign about issues again?” to which everyone applauded. Senator McCain then said that by talking to people directly and continuing to do these town hall forums. The second question was, “The press and pundits have declared your campaign dead. Why should we continue to support you when no one gives you any shot at winning this race?” As the fellow asked the question a big smile started to come to the Senator’s face. Senator McCain joked that he should have given the mike to someone else, but then answered that he was still in it and that he’d keep talking to people and running his race and he’d let the voters decide in January.

A lady, who was wearing a t-shirt that said “Army Mom,” had also asked a question and she, or possibly her husband, brought up the fact that Senator McCain also has two sons serving in the military. Afterwards, in an odd scene, the media swarmed Senator McCain. This small quiet New Hampshire town had a few dozen supporters standing outside calmly waiting to see Senator McCain, a few dozen reporters within two feet of Senator McCain, and nobody else around for what seemed to be miles. Senator McCain made a bee-line for the Army Mom, making sure he chatted with her, and answered any other questions she might have had. He shook hands, took pictures, and talked with people as he headed out. Then one cameraperson exclaimed, “He has to get in his car,” and started sprinting across the street along with a reporter. The locals politely waited to shake the Senator’s hand as he left, and they were in stark contrast to the media who appeared to be on Ritalin. The rest of the town apparently was still asleep.

That was one of the first moments it dawned on me that politicians often don’t get enough credit. Most rational human beings would not choose this kind of life, where a political mistake essentially garners mindless harassment, and taking a position on an issue means receiving threats and not being able to walk to your car in peace.

This was actually one of the lessons of this entire experience. Politicians, in general terms, aren’t so bad. If you take an honest look at what is expected of them, the scrutiny and criticism they receive, even on balance with the perks of having the power, prestige, and influence that comes with an important office, I don’t think it is a job too many people would take.

Look statistically at the number of politicians who do bad things versus the total number of politicians. Their profession takes the rap for the bad actions of a relative few. Granted, these bad deeds are typically more serious due to that politician’s violation of the public trust. However, not many other professions take a hit the way professional politicians do when another politician commits an offense.

Also, consider going to work and having someone, regardless of what you do, standing over your shoulder saying, ‘I wouldn’t have done that.’ Then think of the demands of the job, the media attention and interaction, the hours away from home. Is that something you would really want to sign up for?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An Independent Call from NH On by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Supporting McCain Through Immigration Turmoil #8
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Senator McCain's First Town Hall Meeting After The Campaign Implosion #9

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Matthews Claims Refured



Video unreliable, also available at Newsbusters -> http://newsbusters.org/people/dana-loesch

Finally, someone succinctly makes the point that both sides of the political spectrum have their crazies, and that pigeonholing all the people that have problems with the health care legislation as radical or racist is intellectually dishonest. Best moment of the interview is when Chris Matthews mutters under his breath "this isn't working."


Dana Loesch Owns Chris Matthews in Debate About Tea Party Protests

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Joe Biden A Likable Candidate

I also saw Senator Clinton, Senator Biden, and Governor Romney in person. While I wasn’t able to see Senator Clinton in a town hall format, she and President Clinton had a rally in Manchester that I attended. It is not as informative a format as a town hall, yet throughout the primary process what came through with Senator Clinton is that she is a professional. She doesn’t have a real weak area topically, and she performs consistently, regardless of format or circumstance. In time she became my second choice for president, as I was convinced that she would be competent, and she was more of a centrist than the other Democrats.

Senator Biden I had the privilege to meet at a house party hosted by state representative Jim Webber. If I have any regret in voting Republican, it is that Mr. Webber was so kind in welcoming me into his home; he introduced me to people who generally knew each other, but not me, so I almost felt obligated to vote Democrat – almost.

It was a thrill to meet Senator Biden. I’ve known of Senator Biden for as long as I’ve known that Senators exist, so while I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit it, he sort of took my breath away when he walked through the door. Something about Senator Biden just makes me smile; don’t know what it is other than that he is very likable and very, very outgoing.

Senator Biden was the only other candidate besides Senator McCain that addressed Iraq in specific detail. While his plan didn’t seem to add up the same way Senator McCain’s plan did, he gets big points from me on being direct and forthcoming. He stated how dangerous the region was, and that if we didn’t leave the region properly, the Iraqi people who had helped us would be killed.

I was right up front during Senator Biden’s talk at the house party. Senator Biden is a ‘close talker;’ he looks people right in the eye and stands just inches away from them. I however, am not, and had to keep reminding myself not back up and fall backwards out the Webbers’ screen door. When he was done he turned to the lady standing next to me and said, ‘How are you? Tell me about yourself.’ At which I thought, I need to get out of here; I can’t think of one thing about myself. However, after I left the room, I realized I’d kick myself later if I didn’t shake his hand. So I went back to the porch where he’d have to pass in order to leave, and shook his hand. He was delightful. I was happy that I remembered my name, and fortunately I’m equally happy to say I did not embarrass myself. Senator Biden made a comment about my standing up front being similar to being stuck in the first pew of a church. I was amused to hear him use that line a week or two later when one of his events was televised on C-SPAN.


Meeting Senator/Vice President Biden

An Indpendent Call by Katherine J. Morrison available at Amazon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Media Unwilling to Air Any Criticism of President Obama

In the following CSPAN clip Senator McCain addresses the numerous back room deals and political favors included in the Health Care Bill. He goes on to explain that during the campaign both he and President Obama agreed to change the way things were done in Washington. That clearly there was no 'change' in the 'politics as usual' style that resulted in this bill with its numerous goodies for particular Senators and their respective states.

President Obama's response was to chastise Senator McCain for being in campaign mode. In reality, Senator McCain simply did what the main stream media has refused to do over the last year and a half. He called him out on blantantly breaking a campaign promise. Now the CSPAN clip below, is not the clip you likely saw on the news, as the media still refuses to show criticism of President Obama. What the media presented was President Obama's rebuke with out any of that pesky critique.



However, if one actually looks at the President's record and his statement, it is one of the most blatantly hypocritical remarks made in ages. President Obama is the consumate campaigner; neither side question's ability to campaign or make a speech. Campaigning is President Obama's 'go to' move. Real Clear Politics breaks down just how politically motivated the president's travel is, as one example of the Obama White House's perpetual campaign mode.

Presidential Travel Favors Blue, Purple States

President Obama's trip to Georgia tomorrow will be his first as president. According to data shared by the indispensable Mark Knoller of CBS News, it will mark the 31st state the president has traveled to since taking office last January.

Looking more closely at those numbers, a pattern emerges that is hard to ignore. Obama has visited 23 of the 28 states he carried in November 2008, but only six of the 22 states carried by Republican John McCain. Broken into three broad categories:

Obama has made 47 stops in the 19 states he carried by more than 10 points (including 16 in neighboring Maryland).
Obama has made 44 stops in the 16 states where the final result was within 10 points (including 19 in neighboring Virginia).
Obama has made 4 stops in the 15 states that McCain carried by more than 10 points.


Obama's Hypocritical 'We're not Campaigning Anymore' Statement

Monday, March 1, 2010

Public Growing Weary of the Political Extremes

Senator McCain's Country First Pac has supported three of the moderate Republicans discussed in the LA Times article
GOP moderates poised to gain ground in Congress


Reporting from Washington - With healthcare legislation mired in partisanship, "tea party" activists on the march and GOP leadership dominated by conservatives, Capitol Hill looks like a parched landscape for the withered moderate wing of the Republican Party.

But green shoots are sprouting in Washington and on the campaign trail. A small band of Republican moderates in the Senate broke a logjam on jobs legislation. They added to their ranks with the arrival of another New England Republican, Scott Brown. And several moderate Republicans are in a good position to win Senate seats in November.

Rep. Michael N. Castle, one of the most liberal Republicans in the House, is heavily favored to win an open Senate seat in Delaware.

Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Illinois, handily won the party's primary despite opposition from conservatives.


LA Times Reports on Resurgence on Moderate Republicans

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taking Auto Recalls Serious

US News and World Report published an interesting article on auto recalls. One of the major problems with recalls is that customers often don't take them that seriously. Many see their car as working fine an ignore the fact that there could potentially be a major safety issue that needs to be dealt with. It's wise to call the dealer or manufacture if there are any questions about a recall as they should be able to provide the information needed to determine if ones safety is at risk...

Car Safety Recalls: What You Need to Know


Recall Apathy

In fact, according to Tyson, recall completion rates show car owners are quite apathetic when it comes to responding to recalls. In some cases, the rates of completing the recall repairs are only 20 to 40 percent.



The only outstanding success (completion-wise) was the Firestone tire recall of 2001, which became one of the most tragic recall-related events. In that case, a design flaw causing tread separations in specific Firestone tires led to more than 174 deaths and 700 injuries. The tragedy of the situation led to so much publicity that drivers couldn't ignore the recall and most of them took their tires in to be replaced.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Romney Endorsement of McCain - Very Interesting


Governor Romney endorsed Senator McCain's bid for re-election today. While it may have ticked off some disgruntled radio personalities, it also opens the door to what could potentially be a powerful dynamic duo...

From Time The Romney McCain Lovefest: Everybody Wins!

Times have changed. After gracefully exiting the primary, Romney became a cheerful warrior for McCain, He logged countless hours fundraising for his one-time opponent and appeared on the Senator’s behalf almost anywhere the campaign asked, including at the Democratic National Convention. His competence and dedication won him begrudging fans in McCain’s senior staff, who later freely admitted they’d misjudged him. McCain himself was deeply appreciative of Romney’s work, and was won over personally after spending time with Romney and his gracious wife Ann at the Senator’s Sedona ranch. Romney ended up in serious contention for McCain’s VP slot, and as the financial crisis took over the agenda, he became one of McCain's valued go-to sources of advice and perspective on economic issues.

So perhaps the news of Romney’s endorsement isn’t all that surprising. It's good for McCain to have someone with Romney's financial expertise and centrist appeal come out in his favor. It also helps McCain to appear connected with someone considered part the GOP's future. The question for Romney, who’s emerging as the GOP’s most serious contender for 2012, is what’s in it for him? For starters, a friendship with McCain has lots of benefits. McCain is still an excellent drawcard for fundraisers, and although Romney has vast personal wealth, having a name like McCain on board makes a big difference. McCain could also lend a Romney candidacy some foreign policy and national security credibility, particularly with Republican voters. Romney lacks it, McCain has it in spades. And McCain has always been popular in New Hampshire, a critical early state.


Romney Endorses McCain Making for A Potentially Powerful Duo

Brown Supports Jobs Bill

Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts is an interesting phenomenon. First, he's a Republican in a very 'blue' state. His election drew support from some unlikely allies such as Governor Romney, Senator McCain, and the tea party supporters. Yet what Brown ran on was relatively simple; kill the current health bill, reduce government spending, no NYC trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a pledge to not behave in a highly partisan manner. Brown is already making good on two of these promises. The health care bill was denied (at least for a time) due to his election breaking the filibuster proof majority of the Democrats. Now Brown has shown that he is willing to work across the aisle as he has voted along with a handful of other moderate Republicans to support the new scaled-back jobs bill.

From Yahoo Brown revives GOP moderates' pivot role

"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families," said Brown, whose election last month gave Republicans the 41st vote that could sustain filibusters. "This Senate jobs bill is not perfect ... but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work."

Monday's vote cleared the decks for a far larger favorable vote when the jobs legislation faces an up-or-down final tally Wednesday.

The bill features four provisions, including a $13 billion measure exempting businesses hiring the unemployed from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and giving them another $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.

It's undeniably modest, especially in comparison with the $862 billion economic stimulus bill enacted a year ago. It's also significantly smaller than a rival bipartisan bill unveiled earlier this month by two senior senators.

The measure is centered on tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers this year and a renewal of highway programs through Dec. 31. Both ideas have wide support in both parties. Mark Zandi, an economist with Moody's Economy.com, estimates the tax credit could spur about 250,000 new jobs.



Brown and other Moderate Republicans Vote For Jobs Bill

Friday, February 19, 2010

Parents Surpise Gold Medalist Torah Bright At Olympics

One of the great stories coming out of the Winter Olympics is that of Torah Bright. The flag bearer for Australia had told her parents not to attend the games because she'd prefer that they'd come to he upcoming wedding, and they could only afford to make one of the two trips. Her parents instead decided to find a way to make both trips and surprised their daughter as she won the gold medal for snowboarding. Her parents even ended up hiding in their daughters closet in order to stay hidden until after her event...

Parents surprise Bright in her golden moment

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Torah Bright almost ruined the surprise. Her parents drove six hours to the airport in Sydney, spent 20 hours more on a flight to the Winter Olympics and did all of it behind the back of the world’s best female snowboarder. At Bright’s Vancouver abode the night before the women’s halfpipe competition, Peter and Marion Bright heard her voice, and it begged for immediate improvisation.

“We hid in the closet,” Marion said. “She even came into the bedroom.”

Eventually, they slinked out, plan intact, and prepared to conceal themselves again at Cypress Mountain. It was a jig they couldn’t keep up very long, not when their daughter was winning Australia’s first gold medal of the Vancouver Games and breaking the United States’ near decade-long stranglehold on snowboarding supremacy.

Toyota Called Before Congress

CNN is reporting that the Chief Executive of Toyota, Toyoda to testify before U.S. lawmakers. This comes after an initial statement indicating that he wouldn't appear before Congress. After numerous Toyota recalls, the most serious of which dealt with an accelerator problem that resulted in the loss of life, there is a public demand for answers, and this could be Toyota's best opportunity to convince the public that they are taking responsiblity for their shortcomings and have a plan to remedy these serious problems.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Toyota president Akio Toyoda accepted on Thursday a formal invitation to testify at a hearing to be held next Wednesday.

The House Oversight Committee sent the invitation Thursday morning. Toyoda had initially said he would not appear before the committee but would instead send North America chief Yoshimi Inaba.

But late Thursday, Toyoda released a short statement: "I have received Congressman Towns' invitation to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on February 24 and I accept. I look forward to speaking directly with Congress and the American people."

The invitation sent by Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., reads: "There appears to be growing public confusion regarding which vehicles may be affected and how people should respond. In short, the public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it."


Toyoda, President of Toyota Agrees to Testify Before Congress

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

J.D. Hayworth

Dick Army head of Freedom works and former House leader is clearly unimpressed by McCain challenger Hayworth, as he cites Hayworth's political record as undistibguished.

Armey: Hayworth had 'undistinguished' House career

As former Rep. J.D. Hayworth prepares to officially enter the Republican primary race against incumbent Sen. John McCain, he probably had better not count on any support from FreedomWorks, the national conservative group closely associated with the Tea Party movement.

In a telephone interview with The Arizona Republic, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, FreedomWorks' chairman, delivered a surprisingly harsh assessment of Hayworth, with whom he served on Capitol Hill:

"We're a small organization with a limited budget. There's an awful lot of places where our presence would be needed and can really make a difference. We don't see this Arizona race as one where we need to be actively involved. It's hard for us to believe that J.D. Hayworth could mount a credible challenge to John McCain
. Obviously, we'll watch the race. But J.D. had a fairly short, undistinguished congressional career with virtually no initiative on his part. I just don't see any reason why we should be concerned about that race."


Hayworth has other problems too as Little Green Footballs points out in their article McCain Primary Opponent Hayworth: a Birther with a Twist

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

McCain Challenger Called On 'Nutty Right' Statements

Hayworth a (R) challenger for Senator McCain's Senate seat was called out by Chris Matthews as a 'birther' and Hayworth was unable to give an articulate reply...

"When Chris Matthews asked J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) whether he's "as far right as the birthers," the former Republican Congressman called on President Obama to produce his birth certificate for public inspection.

"Well, gosh, we all had to bring our birth certificates to show we were who we said we were, and we were the age we said we were, to play football in youth sports," said Hayworth, who is currently challenging John McCain (R-AZ) in Arizona's Senate primary. "Shouldn't we know exactly that anyone who wants to run for public office is a natural born citizen of the United States, and is who they say they are?"


J.D. Hayworth A Birther? McCain Challenger Calls For Obama's Birth Certificate

Bayh Not In Love With Congressional Partisanship

It's unfortunate to see a Senator retire that has not only shown that he can work across the aisle, but clearly has a grasp of what is frustrating many Americans - bitter partisanship. In Senator Bayh's address announcing his retirement he notes a political environment that has become nearly impossible to work within. Senator Bayh sees what many Americans see, a system that is putting party before country, or more simply, a system that is putting party before effectiveness. Kudos to Senator Bayh for calling out both parties on this problem, and here's hoping he can help rectify the problem from outside Washington.
“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned,” he said.

“My decision was not motivated by political concern,” he added. “Even in the current challenging environment, I am confident in my prospects for re-election.”

Bayh had never lost an election, from his first win in 1986 as secretary of state, his wins for governor in 1988 and 1992 and his election to the U.S. Senate in 1998 and 2004.

“But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough,” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.”

From IndyStar.com Evan Bayh will not seek re-election


Senator Bayh Takes A Shot At Bitter Partisanship As He Retires

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

McCain Request for Support

My Friend,

The 2010 election offers all Americans - and especially Republicans - a critical choice. We can fight for the principles we believe in, or watch as Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress take our nation down a costly, destructive path.

I'm ready for that battle. And as one of my strongest supporters, I sincerely hope I can count on you to continue to stand with me as I work hard to win reelection in November.

President Obama and the Democrats in control of Congress have gone too far in their quest to "change" America. Their radical, far left policies are undermining America's founding principles and greatly threaten our nation's future economic health and national security.

It is truly disheartening that in their desire to advance their far left agenda, the Democrats are totally ignoring proven ways to create jobs and get our economy moving again. Our opponents' determined efforts to completely overhaul America's health care system, drive our federal deficit to historic levels, and do serious harm to Medicare - serves as a powerful lesson as to the lengths they will go to advance their radical liberal agenda.

The issues we face today call for real, positive, effective solutions. That is why I am determined to remain in the U.S. Senate.

Today, I ask that you reaffirm your support for our shared values by making an immediate contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more. If you are able to make a donation of $100 or more today, I will send you a personally autographed copy of my book, Faith of My Fathers in appreciation of your steadfast support.

In recent months, a reporter dubbed me the "most formidable opponent of the Obama agenda." For me, the bottom line is this: I will always put my country first and fight for what I believe is in the best interest of the American people.

However, if I am going to win in November and continue to fight for our country, I will need your help and support. Your generous donation will be used to help me continue fighting, and I appreciate any amount you can give today.

Inconceivably the Obama White House and Democratic Congressional leaders continue to tell the national media that they are carrying out the "will of the people" and those who are speaking up against their policies represent only a "small minority" of voters.

You and I know that is not true. Vast numbers of Americans oppose their policies and are saying "No" to more lost jobs, more wasteful spending, more government control, more taxes and more debt.

What the Democrats are advocating is not the kind of change that is good for America and our children's future. I'm proud to lead the fight against these policies and am honored to have you by my side.

Thank you for your ongoing and steadfast support.

Sincerely,

John McCain

P.S. I have always fought on the side of people who want better, more efficient government. Today, I need your help to make sure I can remain in the U.S. Senate to continue that fight, by following this link to make a generous contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more. Remember, if you are able to give $100 or more today, I will personally sign a copy of my book, Faith of My Fathers as a token of my appreciation for your generous support. Thank you.

McCain Campaign Letter Cites His Role as 'Most Formidable' Opponent of Obama

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Seats May Swing

President Obama and Vice President Biden both come from very blue Democrat states, yet the seats they vacated upon entering the executive branch are leaning towards the Republican candidates in the latest polls. While Republicans are expected to pick up seats at the midterm elections some are now questioning whether they take control outright in what would a political shocker. CBS reports GOP Eyes 2010 Senate Takeover

Beyond Illinois and Indiana, Democratically-held Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arkansas and Nevada -- where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid faces a tough race -- could be very competitive, according to Salvanto's analysis.

Republicans cheered when North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan announced his surprise retirement, giving Republicans a good chance for another pick up. It was also good news for the GOP when Vice President Joe Biden's son Beau announced he would not run for his father's old Senate seat, leaving Republican Rep. Mike Castle the best-positioned candidate to win in Delaware. Democrats are now backingNew Castle County Executive Chris Coons to run against Castle.

"I predict to you that Chris Coons is going to surprise the devil out of them," Joe Biden told MSNBC. Castle, however, soundly beat Coons in the most recent polls, the Hill reports.


President's and Vice President's Senate Seats Could Both Be Picked Off By Republicans

Obama Seat Could Swing Right?

Excerpt from the NYT Illinois Senate Race Worries Democrats Anew

CHICAGO — Alexi Giannoulias, the treasurer of Illinois and a basketball-playing friend of President Obama’s, won the Democratic primary here on Tuesday for the Senate seat once held by Mr. Obama. But his victory was hardly the free throw some had expected, setting off a new round of worrying among Democrats that the reliably Democratic seat might be picked off by Republicans in November.
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In an Illinois Primary Race, Victory Is Self-Declared (February 4, 2010)

With four others on the ballot, Mr. Giannoulias won 39 percent of the Democratic vote, or, as Republicans preferred to describe it on Wednesday, lost 61 percent of it. A little-known former federal prosecutor who had never run for office, David Hoffman, came within six percentage points of Mr. Giannoulias.

With much on the line here, including the symbolism of the president’s home state possibly slipping away, some Democrats were concerned that the party had played into the game plan of the Republicans, who chose Representative Mark Steven Kirk, a centrist-leaning suburbanite who hopes to appeal to the state’s independent voters and even some moderate Democrats.

Already Wednesday morning, the National Republican Senatorial Committee had issued a Web video mocking Mr. Giannoulias, 33, for what it described as questionable loans made by his family’s bank, his ties to Rod R. Blagojevich, the indicted former governor of Illinois, and more.

“Is this change we can believe in?” the video asks.

Mr. Obama called Mr. Giannoulias to congratulate him on his victory, aides said, but despite the friendship, the White House indicated in the past that it had reservations about his candidacy. At one point, White House officials tried without success to recruit another Democrat, Lisa Madigan, the state attorney general, even after Mr. Giannoulias had made his aspirations clear.

Mr. Obama, who endorsed no one in the primary, has pledged to party officials to do what he can to help keep the seat in Democratic hands. But aides said the president would invest his time and efforts in races across the country and not necessarily devote more attention to the contest for his former seat.

White House Worried About Senate Race in Illinois